Thursday, February 28, 2008

When Stuff Goes Off-Line

If there is one thing submariners and astronauts share (besides their highly developed senses of humor), it is the angst and anxiety over breakdowns.

If you have been around long enough, you may remember how unreliable U.S. manufactured autos used to be until Japan started eating Detroit's lunch. Autos are much better now. Who would ever have imagined 100,000 mile warranties?

Submariners are expected to fix things quickly or, in a worst case, make do with sheer resorcefulness. When we had to put to sea, not only was equipment in peek operating condition (for its age and history), spares and then some were carefully stowed.

In my day, 4-layer diodes were still new enough to be noted for their less than stellar reliability. This was not long after the Navy was paying up to $30 grand for individual transistor circuits allowing what was then considered revolutionary, miniaturized packages to be installed on cramped boats.

Anyway, they held up much better than vacuum tubes. The new Sturgeon class boats still used about a dozen or so, types of those. Imagine boats with both vacuum tubes and integrated circuits!

At any rate, high-price stuff would still break underway and have to be fixed expeditiously in sometimes amazingly resourceful ways.

At home when stuff breaksdown, which a lot has all at once, I have to take time to see if I can fix it, it should be sent out for repair, or simply replaced. What a month! A page scanner, TV, lawnmower, communications equipment, recorder, CD player, radios and an ant invasion. TV - tossed; Mower - now works; Scanner - replaced; wife's car - sent out to dealer (they liked my jury rig) and did $300 worth of stuff I could have done. The other stuff (about a dozen items) - backlogged. Exterminator is coming Monday.

Very depressing for ex-submariners when stuff goes off-line.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Blast from the Past

Last December M.E. alerted readers to author Askin Ozcan's story, The Red Submarine, from the Cold War.

May. 09, 1983 - TIME - After a six-month investigation, an official commission concluded that up to six submarines had been involved in a bold intrusion into the waters near Sweden's Musk Island naval base last October. The fleet was said to include three advanced miniature submarines, some equipped with tanklike treads for crawling along the sea floor. One of the minisubs, the report disclosed, may have crept 50 miles to the north, right into a waterway that runs through the center of Stockholm. ...Some experts think the Soviets could have been gathering intelligence to plan the invasion of Sweden and Norway, so as to gain control of the vital northern Atlantic sea-lanes in the event of war. '
At the time, Askin's agent told M.E.: The novelette has not been published for public distribution. ...the film, THE RED SUBMARINE is in the planning stage and is looking for financing.

Last month, M.E. posted Clues (and video) to Why Submarines are Always Silent and Strange The YouTube video we posted was documentary footage of the Whiskey on the Rocks affair. In addition, we brought readers this strange update :

Margaret Thatcher told navy to raid Swedish coast -MARGARET THATCHER ordered the Royal Navy to land Special Boat Service (SBS) frogmen on the coast of Sweden from British submarines pretending to be Soviet vessels, a new book has claimed. ... The cold war under the Baltic is detailed in a book by Ola Tunander, research professor at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. ... The West claimed the vessels were all Soviet, probing the country’s defences. Tunander believes many were part of a CIA-run operation by Britain and America that continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union. ...One British naval captain told him: 'Margaret Thatcher signed approval for every single operation.'

Now, the latest news: A New Novelette by the Turkish Author Askin Ozcan, on the Way to be an Exciting Film: The Red Submarine

Askin Ozcan has now copyrighted a new novelette for a film, to be titled 'The Red Submarine' or 'The Mini-Submarine', a dynamic adventure and espionage story based partly on real events, incorporating much suspense, romance, humor and music and is looking for a producer. Mr. Eduardo Coronado, a known film director has shown interest to direct the film and a few Russian film producers also show interest in this film, as the story is about a mini-submarine which lands on the Stockholm archipelago, after an instrument failure. The film is to be shot in Stockholm mostly and partly in St. Petersburg, Russia and partly in a big yacht, belonging to one of Russia's new billionaires.

Is anyone else beginning to see a pattern emerge? While Ozcan's film can still be entertaining and humorous, it's script seems to have been co-opted by the alleged perpetrators, the Russians.

All we need now is for a film debut on BBC.

The number of Swedes perceiving the Soviet Union as a direct threat increased from 5-10 per cent in 1980 to 45 per cent in 1983. - The Secret War Against Sweden: US And British Submarine

One book of allegedly true, top-secret operations, you can read; the fictional novelette, however, has not been published for public distribution. Which will make the better film? Take your choice.

Want more mini-sub intrigue? This should help. What do the three authors have in common?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Than a Submarine (Boat) Slip

When sorely in need of reliable information we must often make do with what little is available. As a voter, I find the following insight from today's The Washington Times very interesting, if tentative. The whole article is worth reading.

Former Air Force chief of staff Gen. Merrill McPeak endorsed George W. Bush and served as co-chairman of Oregon Veterans for Bush[1] during the presidential election of 2000. Like so many disenfranchised, former Bush supporters, the General now supports Barack Obama.

Members of Washington's military and defense establishment are expressing trepidation about Sen. Barack Obama, as the Illinois senator comes closer to winning the Democratic presidential nomination and leads in national polls to become commander in chief.

As a co-chair on Barack Obama's presidential campaign, the General agrees that the rookie senator from Illinois believes in a strong military, and with it, a larger Army and Marine Corps. [my emphasis]

Any military person who concludes he's a left-wing, hair-on-fire, Kumbaya child of the '60s has sadly misunderestimated him, to use George Bush's term, said retired Gen. Merrill McPeak.

So what will this tell us about the Navy's future? Will the Navy finally be subordinated to the USMC? Not likely, but its budget might reflect a totally new emphasis on generals and fewer admirals regardless of who is elected in November.

Apparently some admirals had sensed the coming sentiment (congressional committes) with the decline in combatant vessels. The Air Force and Navy will still be needed for their deterrent components and technical expertises in arcane arenas like DARPA.

Even the Naval Academy might just become the military's new JAG school. Worse, depending upon who is actually elected, greater numbers of soldiers and Marines could translate into more humanitarian missions like Somalia (Mogadishu, 1993), and embassy duty like Beirut (barracks bombing, 1983), or not.

Naturally, even if a former Air Force general knew details of a candidate's plans to reduce the Navy (frees up lots of revenue for other programs in oil costs alone), he might not be too alarmed.

What of the vaunted USAF Academy? Well, with fewer manned aircraft in the cards, it might well present a rich target for alternative use. How about making it the HQ for global disaster response?

The boat slip? What does this portend for SSNs? The cheapest vessels for use in the littorals are not SSNs. Have you considered nuclear powered icebreakers? (Neither did I).

Nuclear powered icebreakers present inobvious deterrent and stealth value in the arid Middle East. Besides emotionally disturbed terrorists, who would want to take credit for blowing up one of those rugged, civilian, dirty bombs? Absurd? Let's see how the next Commander in Chief , or administration, at least, really thinks.



Friday, February 22, 2008

When to Worry (Submariners Ashore)

In order of increasing likelihood:

10. Watch out if this organization begins secret psychological studies in this new field. Much longer submarine deployments without crew rotations could be the impetus. Although much of the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) research is classified, this stupid concept must be considered extremely unlikely (listed for novelty ONLY).

9. Politics being what it is, and the prospects of 3 new people for Commander in Chief, two of whom scorn the military in general, one males in particular, and the third of whom has little use for submariners, the pressure will build for female crew assignments on submarines. The concept is both inadvisable and would be severely damaging to morale, recruiting, mission and female crew safety. Worse, such a move would be very difficult to ever undo. (Actually, this should probably be number 5 below - most likely, but it pairs nicely with the preceeding entry).

8. While China's scientist can be world class, her bureaucrats and business managers are crudely regulated and relatively uninterested in human safety concerns, unlike their Western counterparts. We have seen recalls of children's toys, candy, medicine, petfood, toothpaste, etc. during 2007.

What happens when the People's Republic decides it current fleet of nuclear submarines is obsolescent and needs replacement (within 12 years)? How safely will the nuke power plants be decommissioned and radioactive core materials managed? Irradiated fuel might be used in radiological dispersal devices (dirty bomb), leaked from inadequate storage facilities, or dumped in the sea creating environmental disasters for the world community.

7. The U.S. submarine force is poised to enter a niche of net-centric superiority over its potential foes. Integration of subs into surface warfare commands by JC3I (joint Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) compatibility carries a huge risk. It all goes out the window with explsion of a single nuclear detonation in space. M.E. has illustrated this concern before, but is lately joined by Scientific American - Space Wars - Coming to the Sky Near You?

The results of a nuclear detonation in space could be even worse: the electro- magnetic pulse and blast of charged particles would degrade all but the most heavily shielded electronics systems in orbit. Space war could push the world economy back into the 1950s, as communications, navigation, weather and other advanced satellite services would be rendered impractical for years to come.

6. What will it mean to U.S. security arrangements when a formidable PLAN ship (carrier, missile cruiser or submarine) makes a port visit to Venezuela, Ensenada, Mexico, or Cuba? Contrast this to the panic of the 1962, Cuban Missile Crisis. Is the U.S. prepared?

5. (reserved for future disclosure)

4. (reserved for future disclosure)

3. (still classified - maybe this guy knew)

2. (still classified - maybe this guy knew)
1. (still classified - maybe SECDEF knows)



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Request for Proposal may be 'The Last Detail'

Today, we learn of the Navy's need for proposals to recycle their 100-year-old, 265,000-square-foot Portsmouth Navy prison, which closed in 1974. The Navy is expected to put out requests for proposals for the reuse of that property:

Thursday, February 21, 2008 - KITTERY, Maine — Captain Robert Mazzone, the 82nd Commander of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, said taking over command of the shipyard last July has 'really been a great opportunity' for him and operations at the base are going well.

In 2006, M.E. introduced readers to a concept beyond the bounds of modern political correctness: Updating Prison Ships: The Proposed Submarine USS Guantanamo.

This past January, M.E. brought readers Submarine Keelhauling Could Replace Waterboarding with a photo of a prison sub and an antique wood cut of keelhauling.

As the photo shows, prison ships are part of the navy's rich history. Commodore Edward Preble (1761-1807), for whom the United States Naval Academy's Preble Hall is named, was once held prisoner by the British as a young officer aboard the prison ship New Jersey.

What is the highest and best use of the former Naval prison at Portsmouth?

Movie TRIVIA: In the 1973 movie The Last Detail, Seaman Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) is escorted by petty officers Billy "Badass" Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and Mule Mulhall (Otis Young) to the Portsmouth Naval Prison. Meadows has been sentenced to 8 years confinement.



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

SSG(L)N Submarine US or Them

Not going to say much here. Photos may suffice. Only one has been doctored, and that was only to make my point.

First, consider potential uses like this, for instance.

Then, consider weapons availability like this.

Finally, consider the incredible advantages of submarines here (stealth) and here (nuclear power plant).



Monday, February 18, 2008

Words Cannot Express This Photo

Dedicated to the gentle, mistaken souls of Brad's Blog. (If he's still in business)!

Afghanistan - U.S. troops.

Do you see any obnoxious U.S. flags?

Do you doubt anyone's patriotism, here?

Wish you had volunteered? Wondering if I ever served?

Wondering what 'good Progessives' like you should say about courageous people like this, serving where you have always said they should be?

Shoot your foul mouths off if you like, but the truth is without the courage of troops like these you would be on the run to Canada by now, submitting to Islam, and realizing what fools you have been!

Come to think of it, you should have made your reservations by now.

Just an experienced opinion.

Thank you, troops!



The First Casualty of China's Massive Unemployment Problem

October 28, 1988- Millions Across China Said to Face Starvation - About 20 million people are facing starvation in China because of droughts and floods across the country this year, China Daily reported today. ...........................................................................................................................................................
July 7, 2004 - China's Rising Unemployment Challenge - China's employment problem is more serious than these numbers suggest. Notwithstanding the reported increase in total employment of 31 million between 1998 and 2002, registered urban unemployment increased to 4% from 3% -- to 10 million from 6.7 million -- while urban employment was growing to 248 million from 224 million. Thus, the number of new urban jobs was 10 million less than the number of workers seeking them. These numbers are only the tip of the unemployment iceberg. Research by RAND indicates that when proper allowance is made for "disguised" rural unemployment as well as "unregistered" urban unemployment, China's actual unemployment rate soars to an estimated 23% of the total labor force. (The term "disguised" unemployment refers to [unproductive] labor that is reported as nominally employed, but in fact does not add to output ... ) [emphasis added]

Fast forward to now ...

February 15, 2008 - Is the party over in China? Massive unemployment looms - China watchers are predicting a drop in the GNP growth rate this year and for the foreseeable future. ... The downturn is going to be welcomed in some Chinese leadership quarters because of the fear of runaway inflation from an overheated economy — now fed by food shortages and the impact of the worst winter in 50 years.What China needs to do is use the downturn in growth to shift emphasis from heavy industry and exports to domestic consumption. [emphasis added]

Chinese military submarines are neither domestic consumption nor export items, nor does the purchase or production of such submarines add to China's productivity.

Building commercial submarines, however, is a productive proposition for some other nations' economies. Modernized agricultural production remains a primary goal for China's leadership. Wonder why.



Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pressure to Survive Still Increasing

On January 31st we posted Under Increased Pressure to Survive to update our prediction of Adam Gadahn (the American Al Qaeda jihadist) untimely demise in 244 days. With the passage of time, the indicted traitor now has 227 days to live before becoming one of the virgins available in paradise for Muslim martyrs to enjoy (and we thought they were all attractive women).

The pressure to survive has been further heightened by the death of Hezbollah leader Imad Moughniyah, on the United States' most wanted list for attacks on Israeli and Western targets, who was killed during an attack in Damascus February 12th. This was the second of the most wanted to perish in the 10-14 day update periods after our original Gadahn prediction:

WASHINGTON - February 1, 2008 - A top Al Qaeda commander who trained and led foreign militants assisting the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan has been killed in neighboring Pakistan.

Additionally, in the past year or so, there has been renewed literary interest in Gadahn the traitor.

Do these extremists really believe being Hellfired with the applause of the civilized world grants them a magic carpet ride to Muslim paradise? Al-Zarqawi (who died exactly 90 days after M.E. had predicted) will not be happy to have al-Liki's and Gadahn's company. When fanatics become common, none is truly a martyr.

What is born every minute? - Not martyrs. Gadahn may be the ultimate sucker, because in seeking an easy way to gain respect and celebrity he has outsmarted himself. What a beacon of youthful example he is!



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Submarine Mystery Part #2 of 2

Posting 1 was here Submarine Quote and Mystery at Part #1 of 2

Background: Tom Clancy's first bestseller was first published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press—their first fictional work in 1984. Prior to filming The Hunt for Red October ,Tom Clancy was granted a brief ride on an SSN. Mounted in that sub's sonar room he noticed a roll of toilet paper for grease pencil erasures. He promised to include that detail in his film. True to his word, Clancy did in the 1990 film release.

The Navy gave the filmmakers unprecedented access to their submarines, allowing them to photograph unclassified sections of USS Chicago and USS Portsmouth to use in set and prop design. Key cast and crew members took rides in subs including Alec Baldwin and Scott Glenn taking an overnight trip on the USS Salt Lake City. Glenn, who played the commander of the USS Dallas, trained for his role by temporarily assuming the identity of a submarine captain on board the USS Houston (which portrayed the USS Dallas in most scenes).[1]

MYSTERY QUESTION #1: On which SSN did Tom Clancy make that particular ride?

Answer: One little-known event was a brief ride into port aboard the USS Hammerhead (SSN-663) by author Tom Clancy, prior to the filming of The Hunt for Red October. source Here is an unusual photo of the Hammerhead from

MYSTERY QUESTION #2: Were you able to find another photo of the dash-circled hull device (see Hammerhead photo), or see something similar in the following YouTube Hunt for Red October movie trailer?

Hunt for Red October movie
trailer ...

MYSTERY 'THOUGHT' QUESTION #3: What new technology (not the propulsion) was cleverly alluded to in the movie script? Unless you had been familiar with it already, you would probably never have realized what you had just heard. Don't answer this one, or expect me to tell you, but, you can certainly find it yourself.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Submarine Quote and Mystery Part #1 of 2

QUOTE of the MONTH: The tin-can style submarines made famous in The Hunt for Red October just aren't aesthetically pleasing and designer Taizo Doi agrees. - Travis Hudson, Futuristic submarine concept takes a nod from the jellyfish .

All that remains is for designer Taizo Doi to build a submarine that resembles his 'aesthetically pleasing' jellyfish inspired design, get in it, and survive a dive as deep as depicted anywhere in Tom Clancy's movie.

At least another submarine builder, Duke Riley, seemed to appreciate fully that important little detail.

Speaking of Tom Clancy, prior to his filming The Hunt for Red October he was granted a brief ride on an SSN. Mounted in that sub's sonar room he noticed a roll of toilet paper for grease pencil erasures. He promised to include that detail in his film. True to his word, Clancy would.

MYSTERY QUESTION #1: On which SSN did Tom Clancy make that particular ride?

Tomorrow, the answer and Mystery Question #2.

YouTube video - the Hunt for Red October movie trailer:

Hunt for Red October movie
trailer ...



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Submariners 'Missing Movement' and Discipline Video

Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

Any person subject to this chapter who through neglect or design misses the movement of a ship, aircraft, or unit with which he is required in the course of duty to move shall be punished as a court-martial may direct

Distinctions [I am no lawyer, and these are very incomplete, inexpert notes]:

Missing Movement [Article 87] describes individual failures of servicemembers to arrive at the appointed time to deploy, or 'move out' with their assigned unit, ship, or aircraft. In the U.S. military, Missing Movement is a violation of the 87th article of the UCMJ. Similar to AWOL, Missing Movement is considered a more severe offense.

AWOL [Article 86]/UA may be punished with nonjudicial punishment (NJP), informally referred to as office hours by U.S. Marines. Repeat or severe instances, however, may result in Court Martial.

Submarines are technically ships, but they are also specialized units comprised of a limited number of highly trained volunteers. Rarely do submariners Miss Movement, or take Unauthorized Absences. This is more explainable by the esprit of a voluntary team than discontinuance of mandatory conscription since 1973. There have been a few severe and noteworthy exceptions.

Some of you older guys remember the long, 'armed conflict' in which 58,195 women and men of courage lost their lives in service to our country. Wearing the military uniform in certain locales within the USA carried a hefty abuse penalty of verbal if not outright physical assault by self-proclaimed peace activists.

Some of the activists befriended a couple of our crew and tried really long and hard to convert them. One subsequently declared his C.O. (conscientious objector) status. The first step required nonvolunteering out of submarines. If that ever happened, it was not on our boat, where he continued to perform his duties professionally until the end of his normal enlistment.

Never heard of a breathing submariner missing movement in the UCMJ sense during my time.

Years later, after the draft had ended, a spoiled young fellow I had met went AWOL from navy boot camp. It was then I remembered the AWOLs during my boot days, and those rare glimpses of their individual disciplinary chasers (USMC) in the mess hall and forty-fifty Company maneuvers:

...humiliating remedial boot camp called "4050"; suicide attempts of guys in 4050; escape attempt from boot camp; source

The Navy believed strongly in maximizing resources. If you were not going to perform to minimum discilpinary expectations, you were going to be an involuntary exhibit for those similarly tempted.

For the human exhibits, it had to be humiliating. For the rest of us it was mildly entertaining. Sailors in red dixie cups running from one side of the base to the other with buckets full of dirt to fill holes just dug on the other side. Rain, shine, no matter. Marine 'supervisors' with their billy-clubs at the ready and liberally used, even in the dining hall as we took our meals.

What happened to the recruit who went AWOL? The Navy just let him out with a next to honorable discharge. Things have changed; see the YouTube:

Original navy discipline ...



Monday, February 11, 2008

Journalistic Submarine Error(s) - Bad, Ugly and Good

February 8, 2008 - Los Angeles-Class Sub A Victim Of Downsizing - Navy Adds USS Augusta To Its List Of Early Retirees

The Navy decided to decommission the Augusta, SSN 710, after only 23 years of service as part of its downsizing in a time of budget constraints, said Lt. James Stockman, public affairs officer for Submarine Group Two.

The Bad -
The PAO's statement is true, if highly misleading. When was the decision to inactivate USS Augusta made? It had been made well before September 22nd of 2005, the date when this Pre-Inactivation Restricted Availability contract award notice was published:
Electric Boat Corporation, Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $34,006,744 delivery order under previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00024-04-D-4408) for the Pre-Inactivation Restricted Availability of USS Augusta (SSN 710)
Initially awarded Sept. 20, the contract being modified had a total potential value of $49.1 million and was scheduled for completion by April 14, 2006. USS Augusta did undergo extensive maintenance during 2006 to prepare for her six month deployment in March 2007, which completed on schedule in September.

The Ugly (warning) -
The article (linked in first paragraph) mentioned something unusual, too: Boston, SSN 703, was decommissioned midway through its life, in 1999, following the end of the Cold War. That was the most recent decommissioning of a submarine in Groton until now.

Normally, expensive assets like nuclear subs are not built and then disposed so early. Severe casualty damage has at times resulted in determinations that ship salvage would be too prohibitively costly (and time-consuming) to justify repairs.

What I do know about the Boston is that she won an impressive array of commendations and awards during her relatively brief (17+) years in commission. Was the Boston's reactor prematurely burned out, or poisoned? Was there another issue altogether? This writer is unaware of the background on the Boston (submarines are always silent and strange).

Watch the YouTube video here thanks to the USS BOSTON Sail and Rudder Co, Ltd. and judge for yourself whether there's much ugliness (moon shot at 08:54 minutes). Not enough for you? How about this:

The Soviet Navy claims that USS Augusta, commanded by James von Suskil, collided with the Yankee-I class ballistic missile submarine K-219, commanded by Igor Britanov, off Bermuda.[1] The United States Navy states only that K-219 was disabled (see photo above) by an internal explosion, however.

The Good -
Finally, the article also gave us a bit of good news:
The next three Los-Angeles class fast-attack submarines to be inactivated, USS Los Angeles and USS Philadelphia, both in fiscal 2010, and USS Memphis, in fiscal 2011, will reach the end of their planned 33-year service lives.

Even better, three hard luck boats, Greeneville (SSN-772), San Francisco (SSN-711), and Hartford (SSN-768) are still in commission.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Thursday, February 07, 2008

Between the Lines of AIP Submarine Defense and Video

7 February 2008 - US navy-v-dolphins judge says Bush can't overrule her - US District judge Florence Marie Cooper said the recent White House exemption allowing naval exercises to proceed despite her earlier injunction was flawed. She said it was issued on the ground that an emergency existed, when there was none. ... The sonar in question is mid-frequency active equipment, used to search for submarines relatively close to warships by pinging sound pulses into the water and listening for the reflected echoes. Equipment of this type has been in use since WWII. ... Judge Cooper's injunction was temporary, pending a final judgement. It said that USN warships were not to use mid-frequency active sonar within 12 miles of the California coast, and placed other restrictions on them.

2 February 2008 - Strategy Page - The U.S. has been scrambling to develop the ability to detect the new generation of quiet diesel-electric subs. ... New pattern analysis software was developed, and quiet diesel-electric subs from allies were used to test and refine the system. ... The most effective way of hunting down subs is via helicopters or maritime patrol aircraft equipped with homing torpedoes and sonobuoys. The latter are three feet long, 120mm in diameter and weigh about 40 pounds. They are used once, by dropping them into the water. The U.S. has two basic types of air dropped sonobuoys. The AN/SSQ-101 floats upright, sending sonar signals into the water, and transmitting any data bouncing back, to the aircraft overhead.
Related YouTube video:

Sonar kills more whales than Japanese whalers?...



Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Summer of 1987, North Sea - Submerged Off the Coast of Newcastle

Did the U.S. Naval Academy know about this? How about Monty Python?

U.S. navy submarine detects mystery biologic noise at 170 meters during the Cold War. For about 6 minutes gurgling and faintly bleating noises were recorded on ultrasensitive equipment. Copies were soon on their way to Virginia, Northwood and Upsala.

Analysts were mystified at first. Margaret Thatcher was supposedly briefed.

Of the submarine's crew, only the CO would later learn what had actually baffled his sonar suite during the Cold War. The question is, did he believe it?

Now, 21 years later, the truth has been revealed: 6 February 2008 - The Ministry of Defence says it will abandon deep-diving experiments which involve inducing decompression sickness in live goats.

... Goats were used because their respiratory physiology is said to closely resemble that of humans. ... Animal rights campaigners say the move will 'end decades of animal suffering'. ... The animals were used to see what the likely risk of "the bends" would be following escape from a submarine at varying depths under water. The MoD said it only conducted animal testing "where absolutely necessary" and all work
involving animals is carried out in strict accordance with the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Some countries, RN divers suggest, conducted related experiments on actual humans. Wonder who that would be?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Conspiracy Theory Shortcoming and Middle East Interactive

UPDATE: Feb 18 , 2008 - Saboteurs may have cut Mideast telecom cables: UN agency - Damage to several undersea telecom cables that caused outages across the Middle East and Asia could have been an act of sabotage, the International Telecommunication Union said on Monday. 'Some experts doubt the prevailing view that the cables were cut by accident, especially as the cables lie at great depths under the sea and are not passed over by ships,' the UN agency's head of development, Sami al-Murshed, told AFP on the sidelines of a conference on cyber-crime held in Gulf state of Qatar.

UPDATE: February 08, 2008 - Eagle1 has posted a creditable piece called Anchoring on the Internet. It is the long-awaited counter to Iran's supposed loss of connectivity (four-fifths of the 695 networks with connections in Iran were unaffected) and even documents that one of the disrupted cables had been brought down intentionally by its operator. Is this the final word? No, but it clearly removes slop from many bloggers' discussion table.

Our friend Bubblehead posted about conspiracy theorists connected with submerged Mideast internet cable breaks. (Bubblehead's moniker attracts attention to his head, the back of which is usually never revealed in photos). No matter, there is no conspiracy theory that accounts for why he may have a transplant back there. He is really a superb thinker and probably just burned up too many hair cells in the process.

This internet cable conspiracy theory sprung forth fast: Iran Oil Bourse, US Dollar and Internet Cables. It has a ring of truth, and is worth reading in full...excerpt ...

The failure of the Gulf Arab states to bow to U.S. pressure to isolate Iran, the planned new oil bourse and it's threat to the hegemony of the U.S dollar, the U.S.-Zionist threats against Iran are all cited as probable causes of a possible cutting of the main Internet arteries to the entire Gulf region by U.S. submarines which are equipped and trained for such actions as part of information and cyber warfare. Days before the September 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. closed down 500 Arab and Muslim websites including al-Jazeera, leading some to speculate that another event of major significance is being planned.

So what's the fatal flaw? Because the cables can be repaired in a few weeks, what would the U.S have accomplished? A short delay in what the author terms 'the inevitable collapse of the U.S. Dollar as particularly the Gulf countries and China holding immense dollar reserves appear destined to abandon the currency'. Sorry, that theory fails.

Bubblehead intends to put something together dispelling the notion that American submarines were involved in the cable breaks, especially USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23). Good luck trying to illustrate a negative, Bubblehead, even though I agree with you that our submarine involvement is unlikely.

Surprisingly, we have yet to hear from an admitted geek writer yet on the cable breaks (he will correct me, if I was wrong at this writing). Galrahn is a prolific writer who has shown no reluctance to tackle technical topics (subs included) and bring all manner of publicly disclosed sources to bear on them. Apparently, Galrahn does not believe U.S. submarines were involved, either. M. E.'s theory was and is still that the cable cuts are criminal in nature, and that blackmail has been involved.

Here is a super neat animated link that graphically depicts whats been going on politically in the Middle East for the past 3400 years in just 3 minutes 40 seconds. Wish this technology had been available when I was studying history in college. h/t to my favorite anesthesiologist, Dr. Joe Stirt.



Monday, February 04, 2008

Cable Outage - Is it the Language of Back-Channel Diplomacy or Black Mail?

UPDATE: Mumbai February 5, 2008 - 4th cable snaps, Qatar-UAE traffic disrupted -
'Iran is back online, but... its traffic is now passing through the UK and the US, the latter controlling the 13 primary routers. Can you say wiretap?' queries a blogger.

UPDATE: - Mumbai February 1, 2008 - Net traffic to be hit for 10-15 days - In India, 'there has been a 40 to 50 per cent cut in bandwidth,' according to Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers’ Association of India, adding: 'there’s an urgent need to create more capacity so that these problems do not recur'.
+ Find the location of the accident; drag the damaged part to the surface, and replace it with a new stretch of cable
+ May also send light pulses along the fibers in the cable to determine the exact location
+ A working fiber will transmit those pulses all the way across the ocean; a broken one will bounce it back
+ The telecom operator then sends out a large cable ship with a few miles of fresh fibre-optic lines
+ If the faulty part of the cable is less than about 4,000 feet down, a submersible robot can be sent
+ The robot finds the right place; grabs hold of the cable; cuts out the malfunctioning section, and pulls the loose ends back up to the ship
+ Robots do not work in very deep water. In such cases, technicians use a grapnel to cut the cable and hold it
+ A skilled technician (jointer) splices the glass fibers; uses adhesives to attach the new section of cable
+ The repaired cable is then lowered back to the seabed on ropes

The FALCON cable was reported cut at 0559 hrs GMT February 1, 2008, (35 miles from Dubai) further degrading regional internet connectivity just two days after serious service disruptions from damaged FLAG and both of the SEA-ME-WE4 cables.

Those tempted to guess that the U.S. is somehow behind the mysterious cuts may be victims of the actual perpetrators' plot. While Iran would appear to be a standout victim of the cable cuts, all is not as it seems. 04 February 2008 - Iran: in anticipation of the 14th March parliamentary elections

Tensions have also increased as a result of the enforcement of Islamic Censorship on social aspects. Demonstrations of students, teachers, bus drivers and women right's supporters, have been nastily repressed, with dozens of arrests. source link

Tehran has been seeking new ways to censor the internet and track dissidents since 2006. source link

Conversely, India and its U.S. and European clients have borne the brunt of adverse economic impacts:

India's 11-billion-dollar outsourcing industry is made up of 1,250 firms that deliver services ranging from answering customer queries to processing credit card and mortgage applications. The industry employs 700,000 people, serving clients mainly in the United States and Europe that sought to cut costs by farming outwork to the country. source link

Iran is certainly a victim of its own, stubborn nuclear ambitions: 2 February 2008 - Chinese banks cut business with Iranian banks: report Meanwhile, Iran's nuclear know-how unimpeded. If state-sponsored, who, besides Canada and Italy are off the hook? Certainly the members of the U.N. Security Council: China, France, Russia, the U.K., the U.S., plus one, Germany. Between Iran and Israel, who would be more likely?

Will we ever know what really happened to the cables? It is unlikely the saboteur would claim responsibility publicly.

Authorities would rarely disclose blackmail demands before trial. It appears that more cables were cut later, assuring some message had been sent for either blackmail or back-channel diplomacy. Intrigue of this boldness is common beneath the sea, but it rarely reaches the public's attention. Details will unfold very slowly, if ever.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Sunday, February 03, 2008

Telling Coincidences

UPDATE: 02/04/08 - AFP - ABC.NET.AU - Ships did not cut internet cables: Egypt - Ships are not responsible for damaging undersea internet cables in the Mediterranean, Egypt's Government says. A fourth cable linking Qatar to the United Arab Emirates was damaged on Sunday causing yet more disruptions, telecommunication provider Qtel said. Egypt's transport ministry said footage recorded by onshore video cameras of the location of the cables showed no maritime traffic in the area when the cables were damaged.

"The ministry's maritime transport committee reviewed footage covering the period of 12 hours before and 12 hours after the cables were cut and no ships sailed the area," a statement said.

Iran has apparently been without internet connectivity for over 24 hours, according to the Internet Traffic Report shown above. The Internet Traffic Report monitors the flow of data around the world displaying values between zero and 100 to major routers. Higher values indicate faster and more reliable connections.

Curiously, it seems one can still access Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blog (Hugo Chavez is likely operating a mirror site in Caracas).

Three as yet unexplained disruptions to separate internet cables in the Middle East have stoked suspicion that the outage is a precursor to strategic actions in the region. There have been unconfirmed rumors of damage to a fourth cable. Speculation attributed the original damage to anchors. But three separate cables? Hmmm!

Israel and Iraq have not been affected by these outages. India unfortunately has experienced some economic setbacks to its famous commercial operations.

Between our preoccupations with presidential primaries and Super Bowl preparations, most U.S. citizens are perhaps unaware of anything fishy in the air. Of course, the Americans are correct. If there has been anything fishy going on, it has been taking place beneath the sea.

Some are implicating submarines in not only repair of the cables, but in the disruptions. Enough time has passed for cause to have been tentatively established, yet there is no news.

Some speculate that Lebanon, Syria and Iran may soon be targets of some military strikes. That is their wishful thinking. The internet outages curtail vital communications between terrorist leaders, Taliban and AQ field units and urban financiers. Secondly, couriers now have to be substituted over longer distances. They can be watched and followed to pinpoint targets with rewards on their heads. Predators and 500-pound bombs could do the clean ups, whether in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Unknownistan.

Submarines are always silent and strange. Who did this?



Friday, February 01, 2008

Under Increased Pressure to Survive

Does everyone realize what just happened inside Pakistan?

U.S. airstrikes on Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan are rare and extremely sensitive, given the Islamabad government's stated policy of not allowing U.S. military actions within its borders, American intelligence officials said.

WASHINGTON - February 1, 2008 - A top Al Qaeda commander who trained and led foreign militants assisting the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan has been killed in neighboring Pakistan.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Brian Maka said Al Libi was killed in Pakistan, but he provided no details and referred calls to the Pakistani government. Officials would not comment on whether Al Libi's death was related to a suspected CIA airstrike this week on an alleged Al Qaeda compound in the Waziristan region of northwest Pakistan.
Having Pakistan's once off limits autonomus zone back in the crosshairs of U.S. Hellfire missiles must inspire even greater fear in Adam Gadahn than he had ten days ago. It should for some big reasons:

A U.S. military spokesman said last year that Al Libi was probably behind the suicide bombing that killed 23 people outside the main U.S. base in Afghanistan during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney.

While Al Libi attempted to have the U.S. VP killed, Gadahn tried to encourage Grievous Bodily Harm on a sitting U.S. president, and much more recently.

But, perhaps more frightening for Gadahn is his uncanny physical resemblance to Abu Laith al-Libi. Apparently, Sammy bin Laden has not been spending his fortune well enough to adequately protect his top men. How can these extremists really believe being Hellfired with the applause of civilization grants a ticket to paradise? Al-Zarqawi will not be happy to have al-Liki's company. When martyrs become common, no one is truly a martyr. What is born every minute? - Not a martyr.